Our featured entrepreneur this weekend is the founder and owner of a gara clothing brand in Freetown. Her name is Salmata Nimata Onikehpoh Alghali. The third child to her parents. She has two older siblings and a younger one. Her family is her happy place and her constant motivation, she said. She is in her final year studying Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at the Institute of Public Administration and Management, University of Sierra Leone. Currently rounding up with her dissertation.
Nimata had always loved business since her early school days, she has always been independent and this had triggered her sense of responsibility. She is shy and dislikes to be in the position to ask for things she needed. She knew then she needs to find alternative ways to supplement whatever she is getting from her parents. She loves to be fashionable and has a high taste for fashion. She is into wearing t-shirts, especially the white ones. At some point, she became tired with the plain white t-shirts.
It was in April and she was looking forward to something that has our national colours. She was not going to get the stencilled green white and blue t-shirt, she was tired of using those as well. Then the idea of getting a plain white t-shirt and dyeing it came to her mind. She loves colours, so she thought of the idea of tie-dyeing something that could bring her taste to life and at the same time something that says Sierra Leonean without saying a word. In 2019, a few weeks before our country’s independence she bought three t-shirts, which she dyed into our national colours with the help of a friend. Even though the t-shirts were lovely, The end product did not come out as perfect as she was expecting. She did not allow that small hurdle to deter her optimism.
She wore it and took some pictures, strangely, she got a lot of request from friends who were interested and were asking if she can make some and sell to them. That’s how the whole idea of doing this professionally started for her. Financially, she was not in the place to actually start a business and this made her procrastinate the viability of what she was getting herself into, and some of the risk involved in starting a business. She confided in her mother who had encouraged her to do it and to always be optimistic. So that’s how her clothing line started.
“I am very spiritual and sensitive; I overthink things and sometimes they end up in my subconscious and will dream about them when I sleep,” she said. After the talk with her mother, she took everything seriously and kept thinking about what she might need to start small. One night she had a dream, where she was already doing this professionally, and a lady came to buy from her. In the dream, the lady asked her how much she was selling her Makara wear? She usually forgets her dreams, but with this one, she remembered every detail of it. That’s how the name MAKARA wear came about. She held on to the name and the rest they say is history.
Her main challenge has been the capital to finance her business. She lacks the required funds to acquire some of the raw materials needed to effectively start her kind of business. Getting and maintaining clientele has been an issue as well, as few constantly try to negotiate the price of her products to the point that eventually diminishes her profit margins. Lastly, a lot of people prefer clothes from overseas because of the idea that these products are better made than that of our local contents.
Consistency in doing what she does and saving her little profit has been her key to success. Making sure her products meet all the quality standards of her clientele. She tries to efficiently produce her products, so she can be able to price them in a way that could be affordable to the average Sierra Leonean. She wore her heart on her sleeve as she persistently strives to meet her goals business-wise. Because of her spirituality, she prays a lot about everything in her life and speaks positively to herself and into her business. Even though she is not where she wants to be, she knows she has started a promising path that will eventually lead to her business blossoming and flourishing in the near future.
“The compliment I got from clients and people around me has been my highlight, especially, when they realized I made them with my sweat and tears,” Nimata said proudly with a beaming smile. “The fact that Makara wear has attracted a lot of people who use to not love the gara tie-dye to wear my gara tie-dye products and they keep coming to patronize me is enough highlights for me” she continued.
She wants to see Makara Tie Dye Wears grow as a well-known brand in Sierra Leone, West Africa and the world at large. ” I want Makara Wear to be known like other well known international brands, such as Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana etc. A girl is allowed to dream. It’s never too young or old to dream and to dream big”, she said. She believes if she continues to work hard there’s nothing she can’t achieve in this world.
Her advice to others is for them to have goals and focus on them. They should try to take advantage of every opportunity given to them. As young people, they should not overthink their dreams as everyone’s dream is valid. Young people should be optimistic about life and build a positive mindset. They should be the change they want to see in the world. It is better to do something and fail; learn from the process than not doing anything at all.
Her life philosophy is “link with the right people, move with the right crowd, people who will teach you so many things by just been closer to them. People who may notice your mistakes and correct you” she said.
“This is the kind of energy we need as young people, for us to achieve positive things in our lives. We should not feel terrible when we are criticised or corrected, rather we should learn from it and make the necessary change to better our lives” Nimata continued.
When asked for her last words, Nimata replied “As an owner of a small business, one thing l have learned so far is to always control my attitude when faced with difficult customers as there will always be that one person that will trigger you to react unprofessionally, but maintaining your composure is the key in such situations. Bear in mind that most times these are the people if treated right, will bring the most clients to your business. As entrepreneurs we are our brands, therefore, we should always be on our guard to be the best version of ourselves as CEO, bosses or founders. Finally, when you fall, make sure you get up, dust yourself and continue the journey. The road is not easy but very satisfying and fulfilling when one reaches at the end”. Ending her statement with a smile.
For more information on Makara Wear and how to put in orders. You can reach her on her business page on
Facebook@ Makara Tie-Dye Wears
On the following numbers:
WhatsApp line- +23230252390
©By Rahima Vandy Kargbo known as Dasalonetiti Rahima